FAMM, The S.T.A.R.T. Project call for immediate removal of Arizona Department of Corrections Director David Shinn

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FAMM, The S.T.A.R.T. Project call for immediate removal of Arizona Department of Corrections Director David Shinn

PHOENIX — FAMM and The S.T.A.R.T. Project have sent a letter to Gov. Doug Ducey calling for the immediate removal and replacement of Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry (ADCRR) Director David Shinn, based on his repeated failures to address pre-existing and ongoing crises in Arizona’s prison system, and his failure to respond to requests for information from state legislators.

“This comes only after months of Director Shinn’s silence in response to crisis after crisis,” said Gill. “Families with loved ones in prison can’t get answers and have turned to lawmakers to help, but they’re ignored, too. Director Shinn inherited serious problems from the previous director, but his lack of transparency and inadequate responses to a riot, persistently insufficient medical care, inedible food, contaminated water and a raging COVID-19 outbreak are making prisons less safe for the people who live and work there. The short-term solution is a different director; the long-term solution must be independent oversight of ADCRR that brings real transparency and accountability.”

Calling for the firing of a corrections official is an unprecedented action in FAMM’s 30-year history of fighting for criminal justice reform. Beyond Shinn’s removal, the Arizona state legislature must take action to correct the ongoing problems in Arizona’s prisons: authorize release of vulnerable people, add funding to the system’s budget, and provide meaningful independent oversight of the prison system.

FAMM is joined in this call by its partners at The S.T.A.R.T. Project, Lillian Coppess, president and Claire Tate, vice president.

“Staying silent is not an option for us anymore — the silence from families is what allows this culture of indifference to thrive,” said Coppess. “We have a huge responsibility to the people we represent, and the incarcerated community has come to expect a lot from us. We will work as hard as we can to represent them and fight for a prison system that treats them humanely.”

For nearly three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM’s focus on ending a one-size-fits-all punishment structure has led to reforms to sentencing and prison policies at the state and federal level and is paving the way to programs that support rehabilitation for the 94% of all prisoners who will return to our neighborhoods one day.


FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safeguard taxpayer dollars and keep our communities safe. Founded in 1991, FAMM is helping transform America’s criminal justice system by uniting the voices of impacted families and individuals and elevating the issues all across the country.

The S.T.A.R.T. Project — Striving to Achieve Reform Together — is Arizona’s Prison Reform Movement, advocating for changes to harsh sentencing laws, improved prison conditions, and reentry resources for returning citizens.